Elysian Capital partner Richard Ramsey brings 25 years experience of the UK debt market to the firm, during which time he has been involved in more than 150 financing packages for mid-market companies. Having worked at Bank of Scotland, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and Singer & Friedlander, Richard Ramsey has an excellent knowledge of both quantum and terms of debt available to mid-market private equity deals.
‘Richard knows what our competitors do well and don’t do so well,’ says Ken Terry. ‘Secondly he brings a depth of experience, and an extensive list of contacts no other firm has. He has worked with all the advisers, competitors and lawyers, and so brings an extremely knowledgeable and objective perspective.’
Between 1991 and 1997 Richard Ramsay built the Bank of Scotland leveraged finance team into the UK market leader. He then led the European leveraged finance team at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein for six years and then ran Singer & Friedlander’s leverage business across Europe before joining Elysian Capital. During that time he has accumulated a huge network of senior bankers, many of whom have at some point worked for him. In addition having worked on more than 150 finance packages and seen countless more deals he has a huge network of serial dealmakers – entrepreneurs, chief executives, chairmen and finance directors.
‘I have seen three economic cycles. Assets, businesses, sectors and subsectors come around again and again,’ says Richard Ramsay. ‘Because I have been lending money into the deals of all of our competition over an extended period, I have seen what constitutes best practice in terms of deal selection, execution and leverage structure. I have seen the good, the bad and the indifferent operate in terms of deal structuring. Having been around the block in an informed way I know what structures will pass downside testing and others that won’t.’
Selecting a debt provider can be as important as selecting an investor and Richard Ramsay’s network of lenders within the mid-market leverage community means he has a good understanding of what is available in current debt markets. He also has knowledge of the terms and conditions and their workings, which is critical in choosing the appropriate debt package for an MBO.
‘Loan agreements for MBOs typically have lots of covenants - lots of positive things that you are supposed to do and lots of negative things you are not,’ says Richard Ramsay. ‘The biggest thing we are buying with our lender is trust and confidence. Like all contracts it is the interpretation of the flexibility of the terms of the contract that is most important. On our side of the table we will do our utmost to meet our obligations under those terms and run the company with great corporate governance. But if you have a trigger-happy lender on the other side of the table, or more likely a bank that is reducing its loan book, then that may well be a problem. You have to be aware how you select your bank – it is not on price and the amount of leverage. In many cases ‘relationship banking’ is a throwaway term, but it is critical. Having a bank you can trust is very very important.’